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Honey Bee Producer Guide to the National Bee Farm-level Biosecurity Standard
Section 2: Operations Management

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2.1 Obtaining Production Inputs

Target Outcomes

Only recommended production inputs are utilized and are obtained from known and reliable sources.


Production inputs include consumable products such as feed (carbohydrate supplements and pollen or pollen substitutes), water, treatment products (pest control products, including pharmaceuticals, acid treatments and essential oils) and cleaning and disinfection supplies. Refer to Appendix F for information on selecting disinfectants.

Production inputs exclude bees (Refer to section 1.1), and reusable hive equipment, foundation, tools, hive wraps, clothing, and gloves.(Refer to sections 2.3 and 2.5.)

Production inputs may be purchased, acquired at no cost (e.g. from other beekeepers), or derived from the beekeepers' own operation (e.g. honey or pollen used for feed).

Reliable sources are known to be providers of products that are suitable for honey bees, free from contamination, not expired (applicable to some treatment products), and accurately labelled. Supplier lists for safe sources of production inputs may be identified by local beekeeping associations or provincial apiculture programs.

The beekeeper obtains documentation (a supplier declaration that the input is suitable for feeding to honey bees or that the wax is free of pesticide residues). The beekeeper maintains records of the product, date acquired, quantity acquired, lot number, and supplier name and contact information to enable traceback if a problem should occur that is related to using that input.

The Risks

There are three types of risks associated with using production inputs that are not recommended or not obtained from documented safe sources:

  1. Introduction of pests to healthy bees: Water, honey, or non-irradiated pollen fed to bees may contain pests.
  2. Bee susceptibility: Feeding carbohydrate supplements, other than white sugar (sucrose) syrup or high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) suitable for bees, may result in toxicity to bees or cause malnourishment.
  3. Potential for reduced treatment efficacy; purchasing and/or using expired treatment products: Using treatment products that are not obtained through veterinary prescription or are not registered for use for honey bees may result in the following: be less effective than recommended treatments, result in the development of treatment resistance, pose a health risk to the consumer, and present a legal risk to the beekeeper.

Producer Benefits

The benefits of implementing recommended biosecurity practices when obtaining production inputs are

  • reduced chance of introducing pests to healthy bees and therefore reduced need for increasedmanagement and treatments of exposed bees.
  • if a pest is introduced through production inputs, the beekeeper can trace the source back to its origin,quickly identify other colonies that might be affected and take remedial action, as well as avoid thatsource or take preventative action before exposure to bees if supplies from that source are used infuture.
  • optimal treatment efficacy.
  • reduced chance of developing resistance to treatment products.

Recommended Practices

1.Domestic Sources for Production Inputs

  1. Where available, purchase from certified/inspected suppliers, or through recognized bee supply companies and cooperatives, as identified annually by the provincial apiarist or other authority.
  2. Purchase production inputs from suppliers that you know and trust and those with establisheddisease/pest management programs.
  3. If feasible, investigate unfamiliar suppliers before purchasing.
  4. Confirm that the supplier has a provincial permit or licence to sell applicable production inputs.
  5. Confirm that feed supplements are suitable for honey bees.


  1. Use clean potable water, which meets municipal regulations for drinking water, for mixing sugarsyrup or as a water source for bees.

3.Supplemental Carbohydrate Feed

  1. Be aware that the recommended supplemental carbohydrate feed is sugar syrup made from purewhite sugar (sucrose) or food grade HFCS.
  2. Avoid feeding honey to bees, including allowing them to feed off wet combs (i.e. clean off framesor feed off cappings).
  3. Ensure feeders and containers are new or have been disinfected prior to refilling.

4.Supplemental Protein Feed

It is recommended that only irradiated pollen or protein supplements (containing no pollen) be fed to bees:

  1. Ensure that beekeepers are familiar with and follow current federal acts and regulations concerning the importation of bee products, which are defined under the Health of Animals Regulations (Section 2 and 57) as including pollen for feeding. Pollen may be imported legally forbee feed if it has been irradiated. Beekeepers need to be aware that the pollen of several plantspecies is prohibited or regulated under the Plant Protection Act (D-08-04 Section 3.4.7).
  2. Request proof of irradiation of the production input, if applicable.
  3. Ask for certificate of origin for pollen feed.
  4. Request content, including floral source (which may indicate pesticide contamination) for pollenfeed.

5.Treatment Products

Only obtain treatment products registered for use with honey bees or hive equipment, as stated on theproduct label, or as prescribed by a veterinarian.

  1. Beekeepers should be familiar with the Health of Animals Act and Regulations that governantibiotic use for honey bees.
  2. All chemicals used for the treatment of honey bee pests must be registered with Health Canada: Veterinary Drugs Directorate or the Pest Management Regulatory Agency. Consult with yourprovincial apiarist or the provincial environment department regarding licensing requirements forpesticide application.
    1. Ensure products are not expired.
    2. Obtain treatment products from reliable sources if the product requires special storageconditions (e.g. temperature, light, humidity).

Record Keeping

  1. Production inputs are clearly identified on receipt by lot number(s) and the following information isrecorded for each lot:
    1. product details (name, quantity, lot number, date received, expiry date).
    2. name, address and telephone number of supplier.
  2. Inventories of treatment products should be updated as products are used or new shipments arereceived.
  3. Records should be kept for at least one year to enable traceback.

2.2 Handling and Disposal of Production Inputs

Target Outcomes

Beekeepers prevent the degradation and contamination of production inputs by safe and secure storage and disposal.


Production inputs include consumable products such as

  • feed (carbohydrate and protein supplements and substitutes);
  • water;
  • treatment products (pest control products, including pharmaceuticals, acid treatments, and essential oils);
  • cleaning and disinfection supplies. (Refer to Appendix F for information on using and handling disinfectants.)

The Risks

Biosecurity risks associated with improper handling and disposal of production inputs include the following:

Spread of pests within the operation or to other beekeepers' operations through exposure of healthy bees to contaminated feed and/or water or beeswax foundation derived from contaminated hives: Contaminated pollen and honey stores contained within the hive can be of particular risk for spreading disease from area to area when moving colonies for pollination. (Refer to section 1.3).

Reduced efficacy of treatments: Treatment products may be degraded or become toxic to bees if they are not stored according to label instructions (e.g. light-, temperature-, or humidity-controlled storage), are reused, or are used after the expiry date.

Potential for treatment-resistance development may occur if, for example, acaricide strips are not removed promptly at the conclusion of the treatment period or are reused.

Producer Benefits

The benefits of implementing biosecurity-recommended practices when handling and disposing of production inputs are

  • reduced chance of introducing pathogens to healthy bees and therefore reduced need for increased monitoring, management, and treatments of exposed bees.
  • optimal treatment efficacy.
  • reduced chance of developing resistance to treatment products.
  • less need for destruction of supplies by minimizing exposure to contaminants.
  • improved reputation as a reliable supplier of bee productions inputs – a benefit if selling beekeeping supplies.
  • less need for buying new feed to replace spoiled feed.
  • less need for buying new treatments to replace spoiled treatments.

Recommended Practices

Personal sanitation practices are followed after handling confirmed or suspected production inputs that have been contaminated with bee pests.

1. Handling and Disposing of Feed and Water

  1. Use unexposed (e.g. hive-top) feeders and clean up honey spills and syrup as soon as possible.
  2. Provide an alternate water source if necessary, limit bees from seeking water where they may co-mix with others, or be a nuisance to the neighbours.
  3. Feeders and water containers should be sealable and of a smooth material (e.g. food-grade containers) that can be thoroughly cleaned to remove wax, propolis and honey residue and disinfected before reuse. Rinse with clean, potable water before refilling. Use floats on the water so the bees won't drown and change water weekly.
  4. Store liquid feed in sealed containers. Pollen patties should be stored in a cool, dry area or frozen. Store all feed in areas segregated from bees, honey processing and other storage facilities.
  5. If a food or water source is found to have been accessed by infected or infested bees, or if the health status of bees accessing the food or water source is unknown, the feed and water should be removed (if feasible), sealed and disposed of safely.
  6. If moving hives ensure that the feed and pollen stores are not carrying diseases that are new or uncommon in the area being moved to.
  7. Avoid disposing of excess, uncontaminated sugar syrup by dumping on the ground as it can attract robber bees and pests.
  8. Excess pollen patties should be removed before placing honey supers on the colony and used patties should be buried or burned and not exposed to bees.
  9. Avoid the buildup of dead bees and other insects in or around feeders.
  10. Clean dead bees or other insects from feeders.

2. Handling and Disposing of Treatment Products

  1. If applicable, store pharmaceuticals and chemical treatments according to label instructions (temperature, humidity, and light controlled).
  2. Keep products in their original unopened package until ready for use.
  3. Use a first in/first out inventory management system for supplies; that is, older inventory is used before newly acquired inventory.
  4. Promptly dispose of used, expired, or excess products that will not be used, according to the label instructions or further recommendations. Contact your provincial apiarist or apiculture specialist for current disposal recommendations.
  5. Mark hives with the number of acaricide strips applied to control mites and the date they should be removed. Count and record the number of strips to ensure that all strips are removed at the conclusion of the treatment period.
  6. Avoid re-using acaricide strips.
  7. Follow label instructions when applying treatments, especially if exposed to direct sunlight or high heat to prevent degradation of the treatment.

Record Keeping

Records should be kept on

  1. feeding dates, feed type, lot number, quantity, and supplier.
  2. treatments applied, product lot numbers, and dates for application and removal (if applicable).
  3. apiary and or hive placement identifier (i.e. where the product was used).

2.3 Obtaining Bee Equipment

Target Outcomes

Beekeepers obtain bee equipment from known and reliable sources. Used equipment is accompanied by proper permits, if required, and is cleaned and disinfected, or treated upon arrival as needed.


Bee Equipment includes all reusable hive equipment:

  • hive boxes
  • brood and honey frames
  • bottom boards
  • inner and outer covers
  • queen excluders
  • foundation
  • feeders
  • bee escape boards
  • queen cages
  • mouse guards
  • entrance reducers
  • hive stands
  • winter wraps
  • propolis and pollen traps

Bee equipment excludes production inputs and tools. Tools are considered an extension of the beekeepers' person and are addressed in section 2.5.

Reliable sources are known to provide equipment that is free from pest contamination. Supplier lists for safe sources of bee equipment may be identified by local beekeeping associations or provincial apiarists.

The beekeeper obtains documentation such as a supplier declaration (if applicable) and maintains records of the equipment, date acquired, quantity acquired, supplier name, and contact information to enable traceback if a problem should occur that is related to the use of that equipment. This may be through the beekeepers own records or through provincial inspection records.

Used equipment may be disinfected by chemical, irradiation, heating, freezing, and scorching or other methods to kill any living organism that could infect or infest healthy bees. Requirements for method of treatment may differ for the various pests.

The Risks

  • The primary risk associated with introducing used bee equipment to the operation without ensuring its disease-free status or treating it first is the exposure of healthy bees to pests and their spread throughout the operation.
  • Using poorly constructed wooden ware (e.g. poorly fitting hive boxes and frames, non-galvanized metal parts and nails that can rust) that has not been properly protected with bee- and honey-safe wood preservative and fresh paint to protect from rot can cause the colony considerable distress from pests and predators that enter the hive.
  • Reusing comb without properly irradiating or disinfecting first may also introduce pathogen spores.
  • Wax foundations may contain high concentrations of residues from treatment products, such as acaricides, that could be toxic to bees.
  • Wax foundations that contain treatment residues may lead to the development of treatment resistance and honey contamination.

Producer Benefits

These are the benefits to obtaining high-quality, disease-free hive equipment:

  • reduced chance of introducing pests to healthy bees and thus a reduced need for increased management and treatments of exposed bees
  • ease of inspection and monitoring
  • less need for destruction of contaminated equipment
  • longer equipment life and less need for ongoing maintenance and equipment repair
  • healthier bees through better moisture control within the hive
  • reduced impact on the bees from robbing or damage from predators and pests such as mice
  • improved reputation as a reliable supplier – beneficial if selling beekeeping equipment

Recommended Practices

1. Purchasing Used Hive Equipment

  1. Domestic
    1. Where available, purchase used equipment from local certified/inspected suppliers, or through reputable bee supply companies and cooperatives.
    2. Obtain a health certificate or inspection certificate.
    3. Avoid purchasing from third parties outside of the beekeeping industry or suppliers whose status cannot be verified (e.g. over the Internet, at an auction).
    4. Investigate unfamiliar suppliers before purchasing.
  2. Regulations and Compliance for Importing Used Bee Equipment

    Obtain confirmation that the inspection by the designated originating authority was conducted within 30 days (or as specified in the provincial/federal regulations) before entry into the province:

    1. Federal:
      • Beekeepers are familiar with and follow current acts and regulations concerning the importation of used beehives, used beehive equipment, or beeswax under the Health of Animals Regulations (Section 57a). It is prohibited to import used bee equipment.
    2. Provincial:
      • Beekeepers are familiar with and follow current provincial import and transport regulations as defined by the applicable Bee, Livestock Health, Animal Health, or Apiary (Inspection) Act and Regulations.
      • Permits are required in advance of importing used equipment from another province or transporting used equipment through other provinces.
      • Beekeepers follow the requirements for registration in their province; for example, each year, beekeepers register with the provincial apiarist or bee authority by the annual registration date or within the specified number of days after acquiring bees and/or equipment.
      • Records are retained and accessible for the required time period.
      • Provincial import permits are applied for in advance of importation.
      • Shipments are accompanied by a copy of the original inspection report from the originating provincial government authority.
      • Segregation/quarantine, treatments, and destruction and/or disposal, if ordered by the inspector, are followed by the method and within the time frame specified.

2. Selection or Construction of Hive Equipment

Inspect and select new and used hive equipment, based on the following criteria:

  1. clean tight joints and well-fitting parts with no cracks or holes in the hive bodies;
  2. hive boxes that stack tightly with no gaps in between where pests or predators could enter;
  3. box joints that fit snugly: neither too tight (can cause splitting) or too loose (can cause rot);
  4. use of galvanized metal parts and nails to prevent rust;
  5. clean, smooth wood cuts and wood with no or only small tight knots;
  6. wood that is not susceptible to moisture and not pressure-treated for construction of hives; and
  7. new plastic foundation, if possible, or have proof of irradiation if reusing plastic foundation.

3. Introducing Used Hive Equipment

One of the best defences against introducing pests is to avoid acquiring used equipment, or only accept if the disease history is known.

It is recommended that all used hive equipment be segregated in a bee-tight storage facility or dedicated bee yard upon receipt, especially if the equipment contains live honey bees. These colonies should be closely monitored for at least one year to prevent possible transference of disease to healthy colonies. Honey from these colonies should be extracted last. If AFB is detected, then the equipment should be rendered or disposed of appropriately (see section 2.4). If no disease is detected after three years, the colonies and equipment may be integrated into the rest of your operation.

If the used equipment does not include a colony of bees, and proof of disease-free status or a certificate of irradiation is not provided, the equipment should be received into a segregated area and inspected by the province. Equipment should be scraped and pressure washed, and one of the following disinfection methods should be used before introducing the equipment to your operation; however, not all disinfection methods are effective against all diseases.

  1. Irradiation is effective for controlling AFB, EFB, Nosema ceranae, and chalkbrood. To send equipment for irradiation, follow all preparation, handling, packing, and shipping instructions, as indicated by the irradiation service provider:
    1. Before shipping for irradiation, kill, remove, and burn bees, and extract honey using a specially designated extractor to avoid cross-contamination.
    2. Request and retain a copy of the irradiation certificate upon return of the equipment.
    3. Ensure that the equipment is marked as irradiated before putting it back into use.
  2. Be aware that heat treatment is effective for Nosema apis management (i.e. 49 °C for 24 hours); however, caution must be exercised in that effective temperatures will melt wax.
  3. Scorch bee boxes with fire.
  4. Dip wooden ware (bee boxes, wooden feeders) in hot paraffin wax at a sufficient temperature and duration to achieve disinfection.
  5. Chemical disinfection (e.g. with bleach).

Registration for acetic acid fumigation for controlling Nosema is currently under review by PMRA .

4. Foundation

  1. Obtain new plastic foundation and avoid reusing.
  2. Use wax from an International Organization for Standardization (ISO)-accredited rendering facility. Avoid acquiring wax foundation or plastic foundation with wax from unproven sources.

Record Keeping

Record keeping is particularly important when acquiring used equipment that may present a risk of exposure to pests.

The following information should be recorded:

  1. date of receipt;
  2. name, address, and telephone number of supplier;
  3. apiary location with apiary number and/or hive placement identifier i.e. where the equipment was placed;.
  4. health status or other documentation provided by supplier;
  5. treatments administered upon receipt of the equipment.

Records should be kept for at least one year to enable traceback.

2.4 Management and Maintenance of Bee Equipment, Dead Bees and Bee Products

Target Outcomes

Beekeepers regularly inspect bee equipment and, when necessary, action is taken to minimize negative impact to bee health.


Managing, cleaning, disinfecting, destroying by burning, disposing properly, and maintaining bee equipment in a manner that prevents or removes pests, and unwanted bees, will reduce this biosecurity risk.

Bee Equipment includes all re-usable hive equipment (see section 2.3).

Bee products include honey, beeswax, pollen, and propolis.

Management includes removing and replacing (exchanging) frames or other pieces of hive equipment, scraping, brushing, disinfecting, and disposing. Management also includes bee-tight storage.

Maintenance includes routine repair, inspection, culling, and repainting.

The Risks

Pathogen spores can survive on wood and metal surfaces of hive equipment, on or in dead bees, or in bee products, including honey, wax, pollen, and propolis. Other insect pests and parasites can survive on or in the bee equipment, feed inputs, or other material for short periods of time (see section 1.3).

Unused equipment can provide shelter to unwanted bees, and poorly maintained equipment can provide entry points for robber bees and other insect predators. These bees and insects can spread pests within the beekeeping operation or to other beekeepers' operations. Robbing activity may be triggered, causing interaction between colonies and increasing the chance of pest transmission.

Some bee treatments are effective against the vegetative stage of the disease within the bee, but do not kill spores on surfaces.

Bee products present a risk of pest transmission to healthy bees if

  • bee product residue remains in beekeeping equipment that is reused without cleaning (e.g. scraping or brushing) and disinfecting.
  • the bee products are harvested and used as production inputs to the beekeeping operation (e.g. supplemental feed, foundation).
  • the bee products are accessed by robber bees.

Worker bees can pick up pathogen spores and parasites from dead bees and debris during cleaning activities, and spread the infection or infestation to healthy brood or bees within the colony.

Producer Benefits

These are some of the benefits of enhanced biosecurity in managing and maintaining bee equipment:

  • reduced risk of exposure, introduction, and spread of pests;
  • saving time and money on treatments;
  • less need for destruction of infested or infected honey bee colonies and contaminated equipment;
  • longer equipment life;
  • reduced robbing;
  • reduced damage from predators and pests;
  • a marketing advantage if selling beekeeping equipment; and
  • enhanced trade opportunities.

Recommended Practices

1. Implement an Equipment Identification System

  1. To enable hive equipment management and monitoring of colony health (section 1.4), employ a system of identifying apiaries and hives. Identification is necessary for keeping accurate records that in turn can help identify weaker colonies or whole apiaries, so that timely action can be taken. Identification also facilitates traceback to the source of an infection or infestation so that action can be taken to prevent further spread.
  2. Possibly use a geographical identifier for apiaries that correspond with provincial registration requirements for reporting apiary locations.
  3. Create unique identifiers for large operations, and especially those where colonies are moved for pollination, as follows:
    1. apiaries
    2. equipment storage facilities (if multiple)
    3. pallets (for movement, winter storage)
    4. hive boxes
    5. brood chambers

    Examples of identification systems:

    • a numbering or colour-coding system;
    • equipment identified by the date when it was brought into service. This method is particularly effective for identifying when a piece of equipment is due for scheduled repair or culling;
    • tools such as mapping the location of colonies within the apiary for management and traceability;
    • date-stamped digital photographs used as a visual tool for monitoring colony health, queen activity, and brood comb, hive maintenance requirements, as well as identification of pests. A photo of the unique hive identifier should precede the sequence of photographs for each colony; and
    • more sophisticated systems, involving GPS systems and bar codes or quick response (QR) codes printed on hive labels that are used with hand-held readers, cell phone, or tablet applications.
  4. Label feed pails for feed only or for medicated feed only.

2. Routine Inspection

  1. Thoroughly inspect all hive equipment for structural integrity at least once per year.
  2. Look for signs of poorly fitting equipment, cracks, damage from handling and tools, damage from predators such as bears or mice, signs of vandalism, water-logged material, rot, rust, exposed wood in need of paint, leaky feeders.
  3. Thoroughly inspect colonies for signs of pests at least twice per year (spring and fall), and ideally whenever handling the equipment.
  4. Increase the frequency of inspection of brood frames if pests are present in the apiary or become a biosecurity risk in your area.
  5. When visiting an apiary, inspect colonies suspected with pests last.
  6. Close and mark hives, and segregate equipment that is suspected of being contaminated, reporting to your provincial apiarist or bee authority.

3. Equipment Exchange and Replacement

  1. Carry extra hive boxes with you when you visit the apiary, and swap out damaged or deteriorated boxes as you find them or if you split wood when opening the hive.
  2. Set aside equipment for repair in a segregated storage area.
  3. Minimize the exchange of equipment between apiaries and between individual hives within an apiary unless splitting colonies or creating nucs. Only exchange frames that are visually free of infection.
  4. Use a colour-coding or numbering system to match frames and supers to a bee yard.
  5. Adopt a Brood Frame Replacement strategy. Replace a minimum 20 percent of all brood frames, and ideally replace one-third each year (i.e. replace 2–3 older combs per brood chamber with newly drawn combs or foundation). Ideally, frames should be date-marked or coded to facilitate identification for replacement.
  6. Use brood comb only in the lower hive boxes, and avoid moving into honey supers. Frames from the brood box must not be extracted.
  7. Ideally, queen excluders are used. If used, examine regularly, ensure it is in good condition with no gaps. Replace if necessary.
  8. Remove discarded burr com, place in a sealable container, and remove from the apiary to prevent robbing and attracting pests and predators.

4. Maintenance and Repairs

  1. Keep the apiary clean, manage vegetation, and remove unused and obsolete equipment.
  2. Under normal use, clean boxes, lids, and bottom boards yearly.
  3. Thoroughly clean the equipment before attempting equipment repairs. Winter is an ideal time to repair equipment. Apply wooden or galvanized metal patches, ensure tight-fitting repairs, use waterproof glue, putty or caulking, and repaint.
  4. Repairs and paint should be applied to supers before long-term storage. Regularly inspect comb for signs of pests.

5. Disinfecting Equipment

  1. Routine disinfection of hive equipment is recommended before reintroducing bees to prevent the spread of pathogens. (Refer to Appendix F for disinfection methods.) Follow provincial protocols for handling and storing contaminated equipment that is to be disinfected.
  2. Follow procedures for sanitizing and disinfecting transportation equipment (section 2.7), personal protective equipment (e.g. gloves) and tools after handling infected bees, bee products, and bee equipment (section 2.5).
  3. Collect and store discarded wax combs in a sealed bucket or drum. Wax combs can be melted in a solar wax melter, and reused or sent to a rendering facility.

6. Storage

  1. Provide bee-tight, segregated storage for equipment, discarded comb, and other used material awaiting disposal, repair, disinfection, or wax rendering.
  2. Inspect winter wraps, and clean and disinfect if contaminated with fecal matter before storing.
  3. Store unpopulated hive equipment and winter wraps that are ready for use in a clean, dry, bee-tight area or in the apiary in closed drums to protect from foraging bees.
  4. Remove honey, stored pollen, and propolis before storing equipment.
  5. Store bee products in sealed containers in bee-tight facilities to prevent robbing.
  6. Keep garbage storage areas clean and maintained.
  7. Position long-term garbage storage well away from the apiary and facilities, and avoid exposure to foraging bees.
  8. Manage wax moths in stored equipment, using these non-chemical techniques:
    1. Expose loosely stacked equipment to cold or heat treatments at the appropriate temperature and duration. Ensure good air flow.
    2. Avoid mixing brood comb with honey comb in storage.
    3. Dry supers before storage.
    4. Close off/cover empty supers.
    5. Wrap frames in plastic or store in sealed bins.
    6. Layer stacks with cedar boards, shavings, cardboard, or newspapers (with lavender).
  9. If small hive beetle has been detected,
    1. store comb in a temperature-controlled facility with low relative humidity (less than 50 percent) and with good air circulation to inhibit the hatching of small hive beetle eggs.
    2. freeze honey supers to minimize the risk of infestation.

7. Disposal

  1. Dispose of dead bees, bee products, debris, empty honey supers and other equipment that cannot be repaired by burning, burying, or sending to the municipal landfill sites. Place these materials in sealed garbage bags or tight containers.
  2. If sending to the municipal landfill, ensure proper handling of garbage to avoid robbing by foraging bees, attracting other predators, insects, or rodents.
  3. Use garbage cans or bins with tight-fitting lids and that are lined inside with plastic bags to reduce odours and to help keep the cans or bins clean.
  4. Provide garbage bins for disposing waste, used gloves, and other material at the first entry point from the apiary, as well as access points to segregated areas.
  5. Dispose of garbage regularly, in accordance with provincial and municipal regulations.

8. Destruction of Colonies

  1. Be aware of and follow provincial protocols for reporting an occurrence of AFB or other high-risk pest, handling, storing and destruction of contaminated equipment, products, and bees. Contact your provincial apiarist or bee authority for more information.

9. Extraction

  1. Avoid extracting honey, harvesting pollen, or using beeswax from contaminated equipment that is to be burned. Infected bees and bee products should be burned with the equipment.
  2. Never extract honey from brood combs. Never extract honey from AFB - infected colonies. Extract honey from combs with less serious diseases such as EFB and chalkbrood last.
  3. If small hive beetle has been detected,
    1. extract filled honey supers within one to two days, and render cappings promptly to avoid rapid buildup of beetles in the honey and wax.
    2. practise sanitation, surveillance, and management in the honey house.

Record Keeping

Records should be kept on bee equipment for each of the following at a level appropriate to the operation (i.e. beekeeper operation, apiary, hive, or equipment component):

  1. inspection
  2. equipment disinfection treatments
  3. equipment repair
  4. equipment disposal
  5. schedule of brood frame replacement

An annually updated inventory of hive equipment that is in storage or in use, identified by status, is useful for planning for equipment repairs, culling, and acquisition. A three- to five-year timeline is suggested.

Records should be kept to enable traceback.

2.5 Personal Sanitation

Target Outcomes

Beekeepers take precautions to minimize the spread of pests through human contact with bees and equipment.


Beekeeper personal contact with bees may be directly via bare hands, with personal protective equipment such as coveralls, gloves, veils and head gear, footwear, or by tools that the beekeeper uses to manipulate and maintain the hive.

Tools include the smoker, hive tool (to open the hive, pry frames apart, and scrape off wax, propolis, and debris), frame grips, blowers, brushes, and grafting tools for queen rearing.

Forklifts, dollies, and hand trucks used to move hives are considered part of transportation equipment, not personal equipment.

The Risks

As the beekeeper moves from hive to hive, apiary to apiary, and between the storage facilities, the bee yard and the extraction facility, there is the potential of spreading live Varroa mites and pathogen spores by hands, gloves, or via tools. Pests such as small hive beetle are highly mobile and can hitch-hike on the beekeeper's personal protective equipment.

Producer Benefits

  • The primary benefit of practising rigorous personal sanitation procedures when handling bees and hive equipment is to reduce the chance of spreading pests to healthy bees within the operation and therefore reduce the need for increased management and treatment of exposed bees.
  • Personal sanitation prevents or limits the spread of pests among colonies in the same apiary or storage facility, as well as protects entire apiaries or storage facilities from exposure to pests found elsewhere in the operation. This may also reduce the limitation of trade between different beekeeping operations and regions, based on disease status.

Recommended Practices

1. Handwashing (If Gloves Are Not Worn)

  1. Carry water, soap, and paper towels for washing hands, or use hand sanitizer.
  2. Wash hands after handling contaminated equipment or bee products. Place cloth towels or paper towel used for hand drying in a sealable bag for later disinfection or disposal.
  3. Wash hands when moving from apiary to apiary, even if infection or infestation is not confirmed.

2. Gloves and Clothing

  1. Carry a supply of several pairs of disposable gloves or clean reusable gloves.
  2. Wash and disinfect soiled reusable gloves before reuse. Wash canvas gloves in a bleach solution. Scrub down rubber gloves with hand cleaner and a scouring pad or powder while still being worn. Avoid cowhide gloves that are difficult to clean and disinfect.
  3. Change gloves after handling contaminated equipment or bee products. Insert the contaminated gloves in a sealable bag for disposal or later disinfection.
  4. Change gloves when moving from apiary to apiary, even if an infection or infestation is not confirmed.
  5. Carry soap, water, and a mild bleach solution or hand sanitizer, washing hands before putting on the clean gloves.
  6. Prevent stray bees or pests (such as small hive beetle) from hitchhiking on protective clothing, footwear, or head gear when moving from apiary to apiary.
  7. Wash coveralls and head gear regularly to sanitize.
  8. Clean and disinfect footwear if leaving an AFB - or small hive beetle (SHB)-contaminated, or other high-risk apiary.

3. Tool Disinfection

  1. Carry extra sets of clean and disinfected hive tools.
  2. Disinfect tools after handling contaminated equipment or bee products. Insert the contaminated tools in a sealable bag for later disinfection if there is no method of disinfection readily available on-site.
  3. Disinfect or change tools when moving from apiary to apiary, even if infection or infestation is not confirmed.
  4. Disinfect or change tools when moving between hives if disease is present.
  5. Clean hive tools by scraping two tools together to remove wax, honey, propolis, and debris. Follow proper handling and disposal methods for this material, especially if known to be contaminated with pathogen spores. Remove any excess material with scouring pads or steel wool.
  6. Scorch tools with the smoker's heat or propane torch.
  7. Disinfect smoker surfaces that have come in contact with honey or propolis by scorching the wooden surface of the bellows, where handled. For smokers with plastic or wooden bellows, wrap duct tape, where handled. Peel back the duct tape to remove the contaminated surface, but seal in a plastic bag for disposal.

4. Disposal

  1. Burn or dispose of used personal protective gear and broken tools in a municipal landfill. Broken metal tools may also be recycled but should be disinfected first.

Record Keeping

Record keeping for personal sanitation may be used to demonstrate recommended management practices to staff.

2.6 Design of Facilities

Target Outcomes

Facilities are constructed to allow for ease in cleaning, are bee tight if needed, and are consistent with government standards if applicable. The facilities have appropriate lighting and climate control for safe storage of bees and production inputs, and enable monitoring and pest management.


Facilities should be designed to exclude bee pests, as well as enable segregation, inspection, monitoring, treatment, cleaning and disinfection if there is a risk of introduction or spread of pests and diseases.

Well-designed facilities with adequate climate control will protect bee health in storage, and prevent degradation of production inputs such as treatment products. Storage with sufficiently controlled cold or heat may also be used to effectively treat equipment.

Facilities include

  • indoor wintering and other facilities where bees are stored when received into the operation.
  • buildings used for honey extraction or wax rendering.
  • storage facilities for bee production inputs, including feed and treatment products.
  • storage facilities for products such as nuisance pest repellents or poisons and other pesticides (not used for bee treatment), cleaning agents, petroleum products, and lubricants.
  • storage for unused bee equipment, tools, hive wraps.
  • storage of bee products and packaging material.
  • hive-equipment repair shop.
  • garages for housing transportation equipment.

Facilities management extends to building exteriors and loading areas.

The Risks

Refer to section 2.7 for a description of the biosecurity risks associated with facility surfaces. While the risk of pest transmission to healthy bees via contact with the surfaces of facilities is low relative to direct contact with hive equipment, other risks, such as the following, may be mitigated by carefully considered facility design:

  • Bees in storage may experience considerable distress from storage pests, rodents, movement disturbance, lack of ventilation, and overheating, making them more vulnerable to biosecurity risks.
  • Stored treatment products may be degraded by high temperatures and light exposure, reducing efficacy and possibly leading to treatment resistance.
  • Inadequate ability to physically segregate infected or infested bees, contaminated hive equipment, tools or other materials, present a risk of more rapid spread throughout the operation.

Producer Benefits

Facilities designed with biosecurity in mind benefit the beekeeper by

  • preventing entry of storage and nuisance pests that can cause damage to hive equipment and rob or degrade bee products, resulting in economic loss.
  • protecting bee health when wintered indoors, due to unfavourable temperature and humid conditions, storage pests (e.g. robber insects, wax moths) and nuisance pests such as mice.
  • reducing the chance of exposure to bee pests being brought in by storage and nuisance pests.
  • containing and controlling pests if brought in on purchased bees, with infested or infected colonies from the field, or with honey supers (e.g. wax moth control with cold storage).
  • preventing the degradation of treatment products.
  • improving treatment efficacy and reduced chance of resistance development.
  • easing the cleaning and disinfecting of facilities.
  • easing the performing of inspections and in administering treatments.

Recommended Practices

1. Building Design

  1. Pave loading areas.
  2. Grade and drain roadways and pathways.
  3. Install spring-loaded, self-closing doors.
  4. Select rounded and smooth structural components such as post fittings, and lay out plumbing, electrical, and ducting pipes to limit the collection of dirt and debris (i.e. scrapings or dead bees) that cannot be easily removed.
  5. Apply light-coloured finishes that aid with visual inspection and cleaning.
  6. Keep the exterior perimeter of the buildings clear of vegetation and debris.
  7. Avoid covered ledges on building exteriors where pests could nest.
  8. Ensure that the indoor wintering facility is large enough to prevent crowding, promote air circulation, and minimize the requirement for moving hives in storage. Hives may be off-set or staggered when stacked to allow for indoor winter feeding, if necessary.
  9. Locate bee facilities away from other farm or domestic animals.

2. Surface Materials

  1. Design facilities with floors and walls that can be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
  2. Select materials that are highly resistant to water, rust, corrosion, and rot.
  3. Use light-coloured, non-toxic finishes that can withstand power washing.

    Install sealed concrete floors, as honey is acidic and can break down concrete.

    1. Provide grade floors that prevent water from pooling, and slope to facilitate drainage.
    2. Avoid packed dirt floors.
    3. Avoid unfinished wooden surfaces.
    4. Use a perimeter moulding where the floor and walls meet, and seal all gaps. Finish corners to prevent buildup of debris.
    5. Use plastic or vapour barrier to cover floors and walls during storage of live bees in winter.

3. Ensure facilities are bee tight, and to the extent possible, insect and rodent proof

  1. Provide a one-way exit or method to remove bees in the unloading area and to allow bees that are trapped in recently removed supers a means of escape.
  2. Ensure that doors are tight and have surrounding flaps to further limit entry of bees and pests.
  3. Screen windows and provide bee-escapes.
  4. Ensure that crevices and entry points around doors, windows, and utility service inlets, air intake and fan openings can be sealed, or are plugged or caulked.
  5. Set out collection hives near entry points to discourage field bees from clustering in the buildings.

4. Provide Appropriate Temperature-Controlled Storage

  1. Follow storage requirements for products, if indicated on the label. In some cases, a refrigerator, ventilation and air conditioning (e.g. honey bee medication), or a freezer (e.g. pollen patties) are necessary.
  2. Maintain indoor bee wintering facilities at 4°C–7°C.
  3. Avoid exposing bee feed to excessive heat.
  4. Consider installing electronic monitoring and alarm systems for temperature (and humidity) controlled storage.

5. Ensure Adequate Ventilation and Air Circulation in Indoor Wintering Facilities

  1. Stack hives in rows perpendicular to the air duct, with rows spaced about 1 m apart to facilitate air movement.
  2. Use a perforated polypropylene air duct or fan to ensure that the air in the room mixes evenly.
  3. Require an efficient air exchange system to remove heat, water vapour, and carbon dioxide generated by bees in winter storage.
  4. Ensure that screens and filters can be easily removed for cleaning.
  5. Ensure that areas where bees are stored receive clean air that is not recycled from areas where pesticides or other toxic materials are stored or where fumigants are applied.
  6. Have a constant flow of air, in addition to an intermittent air flow at higher rates.
  7. Install back-up power systems.

6. Lighting

  1. Exclude as much light as possible in the indoor wintering facility to suppress bee activity. Use red light bulbs and light traps around air intake fans.
  2. Provide adequate lighting to enable inspections and other maintenance tasks in all facilities. When bees are stored indoors, minimize disturbance. Use flashlights.
  3. Use dark surfaces in areas where bees are stored overwinter.
  4. Ensure that there are no cacks where light may enter the facility. Close the door in the dark with enough time for vision to adjust and to detect any light entering the building.

7. Segregation

  1. Provide segregated storage by using separate buildings, separate rooms with doors that are sealed when shut, or by using plastic curtains.
  2. Ideally… provide segregated storage areas
    1. to receive purchased bees.
    2. for indoor wintering; have segregated storage for infected, infested, or suspect colonies.
    3. for honey supers from healthy colonies separated from those brought in from diseased hives or those from other beekeepers if doing custom extraction.
    4. for products that could be potently toxic to bees or could contaminate bee feed.
    5. for tools and equipment brought into the facility that requires disinfection.
    6. for storing and repairing used hive equipment.

8. Cleaning and Waste Disposal

  1. Have an adequate water supply for pressure washing and a liquid disposal system.
  2. Provide leak-, insect-, and rodent-proof garbage containers with plastic liners.
  3. Regularly dispose of any buildup of dead bees or insect pests. Use a squeegee on a smooth floor to minimize distributing allergens into the air. Use a respirator. Store all dead bees in garbage bags or sealed containers.

Record Keeping

Record keeping for facilities design should describe the types of material used in the construction of the building.

2.7 Maintenance of Premises, Buildings, Vehicles, and Other Equipment

Target Outcome

Beekeepers implement a sanitation and maintenance program for all premises, buildings, vehicles, and other equipment.


Pests that survive on premises, buildings, vehicles, and other equipment can directly spread to bees. Buildings and equipment can also provide shelter to unwanted bees, and these bees can spread pests within the beekeeping operation (section 1.3).

Managing, cleaning, disinfecting, and maintaining premises, buildings, vehicles, and other equipment (i.e. equipment used for moving hives, extraction and wax rendering) in a manner that prevents or removes pests, and unwanted bees will reduce this biosecurity risk. Cleaning areas are designated for moveable equipment and vehicles.

Maintaining building systems (e.g. ventilation, temperature, humidity control, and lighting) will help to protect bee health in storage.

The Risks

Pathogens can survive on wood and metal surfaces, and in carrier substances such as feed or water. If diseased bees are handled by vehicles and equipment, and then subsequently used to handle healthy bees, there is a risk that pathogen can spread. Other pests and parasites can survive on equipment, buildings, and unused bee equipment, though some for only short periods of time.

Table 5 presents examples of the interaction of disease parasites and pests with buildings and equipment.

Table 5 Parasite and pest risk to buildings and equipment
Site or surface Risks
Apiaries and Yards Variable: A significant risk is presented by abandoned bee equipment contaminated with AFB. This risk is low to moderate for other pests; however, unwanted infected bees and pests may nest in this equipment and spread the biosecurity risk to healthy bees where co-mixing opportunities exist.
Wintering and other storage facilities Moderate. Healthy bees may be exposed to infection from dead bees, or spores present on the surfaces of equipment or facilities. Buildings can provide nesting areas for pests and infected bees.
Honey extraction/wax rendering buildings Moderate. Honey spills can attract infected bees and other pests. Healthy bees may be exposed to infection from dead bees, or spores present on the surfaces of processing equipment or facilities. Buildings can provide nesting areas for pests and infected bees.
Honey extraction/wax rendering equipment Variable: Risk is high for AFB or if rental/shared equipment has not been disinfected between uses.
General storage and other buildings Moderate: Buildings can provide nesting areas for pests and infected bees.
Transport vehicles and forklifts Moderate: Pests can survive for varying lengths of time on transportation equipment surfaces, in netting, on pallets, in bee feces, and on honey spills.

AFB = American foulbrood

Producer Benefits

There are benefits of enhanced biosecurity management in maintaining premises, buildings, vehicles, and other equipment:

  • reduced risk of exposure, introduction, and spread of pests;
  • reduction in time and money on treatments;
  • possible compliance with some CFIA regulatory requirements for honey extraction facilities.
  • compliance that may also meet some provincial requirements for field entry.

Recommended Practices

1. Premises and apiary maintenance

  1. Remove unused bee equipment and other equipment that could make homes for pests and bees from those areas where bees are kept. This includes old vehicles, shelters, and farm equipment:
    1. Inspect new apiary sites and bee yards before placing bees, and remove any unused equipment, and, where possible, any structures that could be used as pest or bee housing.
    2. Alternatively, set out bait hives and test those bees before (re)introducing to your operation.
    3. Keep premises and areas around honey house, wax-rendering facilities, and bee wintering facilities free of unused bee equipment.
    4. Refer to AFB management for handling and removing used or abandoned AFB - contaminated equipment.

2. Sanitation of buildings and equipment

  1. Clean and disinfect building and equipment to remove pests:
    1. After and before transporting bees, ensure that the deck of the vehicle is free of debris and dead bees. Remove netting by hand and sweep off the deck. Ensure that the debris is discarded in the trash and either burned or brought to a municipal landfill.
    2. After and before transporting bees, ensure that all honey spills are cleaned up. Scrape off spilled honey discard, and clean the surface area of the spill with water.
    3. Inspect all equipment (forklifts) that is used to handle bees and bee equipment to ensure that it is free of honey and debris.
    4. When handling bees and bee equipment that are known to have been in contact with pests, take extra precaution to clean and disinfect the surfaces of the vehicles and equipment before handling other bees or bee equipment.
    5. Keep premises and areas around honey house, wax-rendering facilities, and bee-wintering facilities free of unused bee equipment.
    6. Know the disease history, if purchasing or renting used extraction or wax-rendering equipment. Clean and disinfect before use.
    7. Be aware that, ideally, all beekeepers have their own extraction equipment.
    8. Refer to AFB management for handling and removing AFB - contaminated equipment.
    9. Thoroughly clean indoor wintering facilities after bees are removed from the building in the spring. Remove dead bees, sweep floors where possible, and power wash the floors, walls, and ceilings that can be cleaned.
    10. Clean honey spills daily in the honey extraction building. Scrape off honey, and use hot water and vinegar to aid in cleaning. Be aware that the use of other chemicals inside the extraction building represents a food safety concern, and thus follow CFIA regulations when considering detergents or chemicals.

3. Clean and Disinfect building and equipment

  1. If vehicles, equipment, or buildings have been used to handle, or house bees or bee equipment contaminated with persistent diseases such as AFB, clean and disinfect surfaces using recommended methods. Refer to Appendix F for more information.

4. Maintenance of buildings

  1. Ensure that buildings are kept in optimal condition:
    1. Once a year, check that any buildings are bee tight, and that openings to rodents and other pests are sealed.
    2. Provide daily monitoring of any indoor wintering facilities to ensure that ventilation systems are functioning properly, maintaining adequate air quality including temperature, carbon dioxide, and moisture.

5. Maintenance of a designated cleaning area for vehicles and equipment

  1. Clean vehicles and portable equipment at designated cleaning areas, and handle waste water appropriately:
    1. Carry out cleaning of vehicles and equipment in locations away from where bees are kept.
    2. Contain or divert drainage of waste water away from where bees are kept.
    3. Ensure that there is no standing water accessible by foraging bees.
    4. Power wash, if possible, the designated cleaning area after cleaning contaminated equipment and vehicles.

Record Keeping

A record of cleaning and maintenance includes the following logs:

  1. repairs made to buildings (electronic or hand-written);
  2. building, equipment, and vehicle cleaning and disinfection (electronic or hand-written); and
  3. the monitoring of indoor wintering facilities (electronic or hand-written), including notes and/or readings (temperature, moisture, carbon dioxide).

2.8 Control of Weeds and Nuisance Pests

Target Outcomes

Beekeepers implement an integrated management program for weeds and other nuisance pests.


An integrated management program utilizes monitoring techniques, as well as weed and nuisance pest-appropriate cultural, mechanical, physical, biological, and chemical controls. Weed and nuisance pest management protects the colonies from attack and the hive equipment from damage, and facilitates beekeeper access to the colonies for inspection and management.

The Risks

Weeds growing in and around the apiary or around facilities can

  • provide nesting sites for nuisance pests and robber bees.
  • serve as a way in to the hive for insect pests.
  • obstruct entrances to hives and inhibit bee foraging.
  • hold moisture that can deteriorate the base of the hive equipment or promote colony diseases such as chalkbrood that thrive in high humidity conditions.
  • short-circuit electric fences meant to keep out predators.
  • obstruct the beekeeper from performing routine inspections and managing the colonies.

Nuisance pests may

  • disturb the colony.
  • damage the hive, comb, or winter wraps.
  • nest in or near the hive.
  • deplete the bee populous by consuming adult bees and brood.
  • rob food stores.
  • cause the bees to behave aggressively.
  • generally result in a weakened colony that is more vulnerable to bee pests.
  • spread pathogens or other pests and may be a threat to colonies in both the bee yard and indoor overwintering facilities.

Bears pose a great threat to honey bee colonies and can destroy an entire bee yard in their quest for food.

Rodents, including mice, shrews, and voles present a risk especially during the fall and winter months, whether in the field or in an indoor wintering facility. Rodent urine is partially repellent and will not be cleaned out by the bees in the spring. Rodent problems are more likely to occur in apiaries located near woodlots or in fields.

Skunks and raccoons scratch at hive entrances at night (when bees are less likely to sting) and feed on the bees when they come out to defend the colony. This feeding activity is more common in spring.

Insectivorous birds, such as blue jays, can be a severe problem in queen-rearing operations. Woodpeckers can damage hive equipment.

Amphibians and reptiles will also eat honey bees, but they are not considered serious pests.

Insect pests include predatory wasps and ants. Ants may nest inside or beneath the hive and are a more serious nuisance in heavily wooded or sandy soil areas. Carpenter ants may cause structural damage to hive parts, especially bottom boards.

Farm livestock (e.g. cattle) and pets generally present a minor risk, unless the apiary is in a highly populated area. Livestock may aid in weed suppression in the apiary.

Humans, although perhaps not technically, are a biosecurity risk in that they may vandalize the apiary or steal honey or equipment.

Producer Benefits

Deterring and controlling nuisance pests benefits beekeepers by

  • reduced financial losses from hive damage, and bee and honey losses.
  • reduced time spent on equipment repair and replacement.
  • less aggressive, and easier to manage bees.
  • easier access to hive equipment in the apiary.
  • bees that can better cope with serious pest biosecurity risks.
  • reduced chance of introducing and spreading pests.

Recommended Practices

1. Monitoring

With each visit to the apiary, monitor for weed growth, the presence of nuisance pests, and visual signs of infestation and disturbance such as

  1. toppled hives and obvious disturbance, damage to, or theft of, hive equipment.
  2. disturbance to surrounding vegetation.
  3. holes dug in front of hive entrances.
  4. scratches at hive entrances.
  5. dirt on entrance boards.
  6. entrance reducers removed.
  7. chewed comb.
  8. bee parts and animal scat visible on the ground near the entrance.
  9. bear or cattle hair caught on barbed-wire fencing.
  10. damage to winter wrapping material.
  11. evidence of nesting in wrapping material.
  12. agitated, aggressive, and weakened colonies.

2. General Management

  1. Keep facilities, apiaries, and their surrounding areas free of broken frames, comb, garbage, and other attractants.
  2. Feed bees in leak-proof unexposed feeders, and avoid feed spills.
  3. Avoid honey spills and avoid placing honey supers on the ground when removing from the hive.
  4. Be aware that many nuisance pests can be deterred by dogs or solar- or battery-powered motion-activated devices that set off flashing lights or a loud noise.
  5. Move bees to a new location.

3. Weed Management

  1. Mowing around the apiary is effective but may cause some disturbance to bees. If herbicides are used, apply products that are safe for use around bee yards; avoid application when bees are flying or when weeds are in bloom, and follow product labels. Check with the landowner before applying herbicides.
  2. Relocate the hives every few years. Colony debris is a good source of fertilizer for weeds and can promote weed growth.
  3. Keep entrances and the perimeters of facilities clear of weeds and vegetation that could provide nesting sites for nuisance pests.

4. Bear (and Cattle) Management

  1. Carefully select the apiary site to avoid the home ranges of bears and wildlife corridors, such as bush along forest edges, ravines, and stream beds.
  2. Know that the best defence against both bears and cattle is to install a permanent, baited, electric fence around the bee yard before bears have discovered the site:
    1. Be aware that temporary electric fences may be set up in some circumstances.
    2. Consider a solar-powered energy source for the fence.
    3. Establish the apiary away from trees, which will prevent bears from climbing and dropping inside the fence.
    4. Keep vegetation controlled under, around, and above the fence to prevent it from shorting out.
    5. Obtain detailed information about bear fences from the provincial apiculturist's office or wildlife management office.
  3. Trapping and shooting bears is another alternative if deterrent methods are unsuccessful. Contact the provincial wildlife office for information and regulations.

5. Rodent Management

  1. For outdoor overwintered colonies,
    1. chase away mice already in the hive, and destroy nests.
    2. replace chewed frames, because bees will replace destroyed worker cells with drone cells.
    3. install an entrance reducer at the lower hive entrance in early fall. Provide ventilation if the entrances get blocked by debris that the bees are unable to easily remove.
    4. place poisoned grain or commercial rodent bait on inner covers, with the feeder holes blocked, below the insulation, and underneath hives. Ensure that excess bait is removed when hives are unwrapped in the spring and before bees start flying.
  2. For colonies in winter storage,
    1. ensure the storage facility is rodent-proof.
    2. use rodent management measures such as traps, commercial poison bait stations, and cats.
    3. close off stacks of supers, above and below, with a queen excluder, wire screen, or tight-fitting telescoping lid.
    4. place rodent bait on the floor or on the bottom pallet. Avoid placing bait between hive stacks, as chewed bits can fall into the frames.
  3. Wash rodent urine from the interior surfaces of wooden ware with water.
  4. Identify the placement of bait stations on a facilities' map, and inspect regularly.

6. Skunk and Raccoon Management

  1. Staple a piece of chicken wire or screening to the bottom board, and stretching in front of the hive and around the winter wrap to discourage skunks and other animals from scratching at entrances. A board with many sharp nails pointing upwards or toothed grips used by carpet layers may also be installed at hive entrances.
  2. For small apiaries, install a wire mesh or short garden fence, extended into the ground to prevent skunks from burrowing under.
  3. Add an upper entrance to the hive, and keep colonies on stands.
  4. Be aware that trapping and shooting skunks is another alternative, if deterrent methods are unsuccessful. Contact the provincial wildlife office for information and regulations.

7. Wasp Management

  1. Remove material from around the apiary that could act as wasp-nesting sites.
  2. Locate wasps by following their flight and remove wasp nests.
  3. Consider screens, traps, or entrance reducers.
  4. Apply insecticides to wasp nests with extreme caution to avoid exposure to bees.
  5. Use flyswatters.
  6. Ensure bee- (and wasp) tight facilities with escapes in windows.
  7. Avoid using insecticide strips in facilities.

8. Ant Management

  1. Keep the area around colonies free of the accumulation of grass, brush, and dead wood that could act as nesting sites or bridges into the hive.
  2. Systematically search for the ant nests around the apiary and destroy (e.g. by burning).
  3. Pour boiling water into the nest on a warm, sunny day.
  4. Protect colonies from ants and products applied to the ground to manage ants by placing hives on stands with the legs set in water or cans filled with vegetable oil.
  5. Ensure bottom boards are sound. Bees and comb must not come into contact with treatments.

9. Vandalism and Theft

  1. Locate the apiary so that it is not easily visible from a secluded road.
  2. If possible, locate apiary where it can be easily observed by the beekeeper or neighbours.
  3. Notify the police.
  4. Use a guard dog.
  5. Consider installing a surveillance camera.
  6. Brand or mark equipment, or install microchips in hives.

Record Keeping

  1. Maintain a list or map of facilities that require regular attention.
  2. Maintain an inventory of nuisance pest control products.
  3. Record observances of nuisance pest damage by date and apiary.
  4. Record any chemical treatments or cultural controls by date, who administered, and why.
  5. Record locations and the monitoring schedule of bait traps.

2.9 Training and Education

Target Outcomes

All those working in a beekeeping operation or utilizing bees are trained and regularly updated on biosecurity risks and protocols.


Staff includes all those who work in the beekeeping operation, consisting of the owner/senior beekeeper, family members, and hired employees.

A biosecurity training plan is in place, resource material is sourced or developed, and training and updates are delivered to staff to address the purpose, principles, and processes associated with honey bee biosecurity.

Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are developed for the beekeeping operation. These are written (and illustrated) step-by-step explanations of how to perform a specific task from beginning to end. A beekeeper may develop SOPs for some specific tasks that have a high biosecurity benefit.

The Risks

The risks associated with not developing SOPs or providing training are as follows:

  • exposure and/or spread of pests to healthy bees;
  • missed or delayed diagnosis of a pest, resulting in economic loss;
  • wrong diagnosis of a pest, resulting in unnecessary treatment;
  • errors in administering treatments that could reduce efficacy or be toxic to bees; and
  • risks to staff health and safety when administering treatments to address biosecurity risks.

Producer Benefits

Someone who is properly trained will adopt biosecurity procedures as routine and provide suggestions for improvement.

Consulting with and involving staff in its development and revision results in a more effective biosecurity plan – one that has biosecurity more easily integrated into daily tasks.

Having documented SOPs and trained staff can benefit the beekeeping operation through

  • improved prevention (exposure, spread, and bee susceptibility reduction);
  • earlier detection of biosecurity risks;
  • reduced need (and cost) for increased monitoring, management, and treatments;
  • reduced risk of errors when administering treatments;
  • worker health and safety; and
  • improved traceback ability.

Recommended Practices

It is recommended that beekeepers supplement their own knowledge and/or staff training program by

1. Standard Operating Procedures

SOPs may be developed and should be reviewed at least annually for the following processes:

  1. monitoring and sampling procedures (standard and elevated frequency, and sampling percentage)
  2. action to take if a new or high risk pest is observed during regular beekeeping activities
  3. reporting
  4. immediate action to prevent spread (e.g. sanitation)
  5. quarantine protocol
  6. AFB disposal and disinfection (bees, equipment, tools, etc.)
  7. prevention methods
  8. treatment administration
  9. record keeping
  10. other SOPs as identified by the beekeeper

2. Depth, Scope, and Content of Training

The depth and scope of biosecurity training should be appropriate to the job scope of the employee, family member, or senior beekeeper; however, all those working within the operation should have a general understanding of the purpose, principles, and processes of biosecurity.

Biosecurity training should include

  1. knowledge of biosecurity principles, risks, and why biosecurity is important to the operation and the Canadian industry.
  2. an understanding of
    1. common, new, and exotic biosecurity risks and their life cycles.
    2. vectors or risk entry points to the operation.
    3. relationship to bee lifecycle.
    4. signs of exposure to pest susceptibility factors that may mimic disease caused by a pest.
    5. environmental or other conditions that promote or impede spread of the biosecurity risk.
    6. compounding effects of multiple biosecurity risks and bee susceptibility factors.
    7. potential impact on bees and honey production.
    8. recognition of brood comb.
  3. monitoring procedures and signs to look for while performing regular duties, and the triggers to report. The senior beekeeper should be trained in advanced monitoring and sampling procedures (e.g. determining parasite counts, sampling for laboratory analysis) and know when to trigger implementation of standard and elevated response plans.
  4. recommended practices to prevent the spread of pests while performing regular duties:
    1. personal sanitation;
    2. routine handling, maintenance, sanitation, and disposal of production inputs, equipment, facilities, and dead bees;
    3. procedures for introducing, handling, situating, and moving live bees; and
    4. cultural controls.
  5. treatment application methods:
    1. how to understand and interpret product label instructions
    2. accessing and following current provincial treatment recommendations
    3. worker safety when handling and applying treatments
  6. current regulations governing registration, bee purchase, sale and movement permits, notification, and treatments.
  7. key contacts such as bee authorities, experts, diagnostic laboratories, and irradiation services. Training should include knowledge of when and how to contact these resources.
  8. record-keeping requirements within the operation.
  9. a system of identifying and marking hive boxes or other equipment.

3. Timing and Frequency of Training

Staff are

  1. trained when first employed.
  2. given an annual update or refresher on biosecurity at the start of each season.
  3. given updates as needed throughout the operating season.

4. Training Methods

A hands-on, competency-based supervised training program is generally considered more effective than a theoretical program or self-study delivery. Examples of training include the following:

  1. in-house staff orientation training sessions or meetings;
  2. on-the job training by working under direct supervision;
  3. attending demonstrations, seminars, or workshops offered by the provincial government, beekeeping associations, private organizations, etc.;
  4. formal qualifications, for example completion of a master beekeeper course, veterinary training, pesticide applicator certification course, attending college or university programs, and correspondence courses; and
  5. self-study.

5. Support Materials

To improve comprehension, training and support materials are illustrated, well-organized, and written in simple (non-scientific) language. Also, training and support materials are translated, as applicable; for example, French to English, English to French, and English to Spanish. Examples of support materials for use in training may include:

  1. the Bee Biosecurity Standard and this Producer Guide;
  2. written SOPs ;
  3. videos;
  4. demonstrations;
  5. photos and illustrations;
  6. posters;
  7. examples with notes (e.g. product labels, report forms);
  8. memo postings and emails;
  9. workbooks or self-assessment checklists (paper or electronic); and
  10. bulletins, newsletters, and annual treatment recommendations (paper and online).

Record Keeping

A record of training should be kept for each worker.

Examples of records:

  1. title and/or certificate of attendance for seminars, workshops, courses attended;
  2. individual training records, detailing training given and dates; and
  3. a signed confirmation from each staff member that SOPs have been read and understood.
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